The Conversation: Film and Digital Media in Hawai’i’s Economic Reboot

Sep 18, 2020

Academy for Creative Media; State Film Commissioner; Kawainui Apartments; Honolulu Chamber Music Society; Honolulu Printmakers; Chef Mark Oyama


Academy for Creative Media

Hawai'i is doing everything it can to get tourism back, at the same time, finding other economic engines has never seemed more important. Chris Lee has been incubating a local digital media industry at the University of Hawai'i for almost 20 years. Lee, once the head of Columbia/TriStar studios, returned to Hawaii in 2002 to start the Film School at UH Manoa. He is the founder and Director of the Academy for Creative Media System at the University of Hawai'i.


State Film Commissioner

There are definite signs of life in Hawaii's film industry. Season three of Magnum PI launched this week here on O'ahu, there's a Netflix feature filming here too, a series on Maui, and an ocean themed reality show is shooting on Hawai'i Island. Importantly, the film industry has published a comprehensive plan, a way forward for production during this pandemic. It's intended to ensure the safety of workers, the surrounding community, and of course, investors. The plan involves strict protocols that State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson says could be a model for other industries. She says it's no surprise the film industry is back as Hawai'i struggles to recover. 


Kawainui Apartments

The Honolulu City Council's Planning, Zoning and Housing Committee meeting is hearing changes to a proposal for an affordable housing development in Kailua. This is the final step before a full Council vote next week, and opponents to the plan say property owners everywhere have a stake in that decision. 


Honolulu Chamber Music Society

Have you stayed in touch with your favorite musicians through the ravages of this pandemic? Many of them have been trying to reach you. So there have been recorded street performances, broadcasts from shuttered theaters and living room live sessions too. Pianist Jonathan Korth leads the Honolulu Chamber Music Society. Their goal is connecting you to mind opening classical performances for free, to kick off their season. They're taking advantage of technology to bring great artists right to you. Link to HSO's website 


Honolulu Printmakers

In the same way the musicians make a living by teaching and performing, many visual artists live by combining teaching and selling their artwork. Printmaker, Duncan Dempster is one of those people. He is also Executive Director of Honolulu Printmakers, a 92 year old community organization. They've had their presses in an active and well run studio at the Honolulu Museum of Art School at Linekona since 1993. Dempster says there are changes ahead. 


Chef Mark Oyama

Born and raised on Kaua'i, Mark Oyama had a passion for fishing, spent a lot of time on his uncle's farm, and raised livestock in 4H club. Before long, Oyama was teaching at Kaua'i Community College, catering wildly on the side, and someone asked if he'd like to open a restaurant. The location was the new Puhi Industrial Park.